To the best of our knowledge, all policies are in accordance with Chapter IX of the 5311 Circular (FTA C 9040.1G) and subject to change based on availability of funds. This scholarship guidance was last updated on Monday, August 8.
If your transit agency is funded through FTA Section 5310 or 5311 or you are a Tribal Transit provider, you are eligible to apply for a scholarship to attend workshops, trainings, and seminars. Agencies receiving FTA section 5307 funding are not eligible for scholarships because they receive funds directly through FTA. Agencies receiving 5311(f) funding (Intercity Bus) are not eligible for scholarships because they are for-profit agencies in the state of Minnesota.
Systems receiving FTA Section 5311 funding are encouraged to use operating dollars whenever possible prior to requesting a scholarship.
Per Person Maximums
- To distribute scholarship funds fairly across the state, RTAP has established yearly scholarship maximums per person.
- An individual may receive scholarships up to the maximum amounts for in- and out-of-state scholarships (an individual may utilize scholarships in both categories up to the maximum).
- In-State Per Person Maximum: $1,000 per person, per calendar year
- Online Training/Certification Maximium: $1,000 per person, per calendar year
- Out-of-State Per Person Maximum: $2,500 per person, per calendar year
- Maximums apply to both the anticipated and actual expenses in your scholarship application and reimbursement. So, for example, if actual costs are higher than your anticipated costs, the maximum remains the same.
To encourage peer-to-peer learning and certification, RTAP can cover registration costs for some events for eligible agencies (see eligibility section). The following list includes the current list of events where registration costs may be covered by RTAP, but additional opportunities may be added in the future.
MPTA Event Registration Fees
RTAP will cover the registration fees for agencies receiving FTA Section 5311 and 5310 funding and Tribal Transit for the Minnesota Public Transit Conference (fall conference) and Bus Roadeo. Agencies receiving FTA Section 5307 and 5311(f) funding are not eligible. Those interested in RTAP covering their registration fees must apply for a scholarship for the registration cost on the RTAP website.
Individuals needing additional assistance may apply for full scholarships to attend the fall conference, which would include meals, lodging, and transportation in addition to the registration fee.
CTAA Training Registration Fees
RTAP will cover the registration fees for agencies taking part in CTAA online training and certification courses, such as PASS Train the Trainer, Certified Safety and Security Officer (CSSO) training, Certified Community Transit Supervisor (CCTS) and other courses as available. These courses are available to agencies receiving FTA Section 5311, 5310, and Tribal Transit and do not count towards the scholarship maximums.
Application Review Process (How RTAP Reviews and Awards Scholarships)
Scholarship guidelines are established to ensure that Minnesota transit agencies have access to training, funds are distributed equitably throughout the state, and funding is not a roadblock to obtaining training.
There are a limited number of scholarships available for any given event/training.
Scholarships are reviewed and awarded based on the question: “What specific value will this training bring to your job or agency?”
The following questions will serve as guidelines to determine the eligibility of a scholarship applicant:
Question 1: Does the applicant work for an agency receiving FTA Section 5311, FTA Section 5310 (including RTCCs and TCAPs) funding or a Tribal Transit agency?
If yes, continue
Question 2: Does the total amount requested fall within MnRTAP’s maximum allowable amount for out-of-state travel or in-state travel?
If yes, continue
Question 3: Are the requested reimbursements for lodging, meals, mileage, and other travel expenses permissible with state and federal guidelines?
If yes, continue
- Complete one application for every person requesting a scholarship.
- At no time should an applicant assume that the scholarship request will be approved. The program has a limited budget.
- The scholarship application must be submitted at least 30 days prior to the date of the training or event.
- Should the training be announced less than 30 days prior to the actual event/training, please identify this in your application in the notes section. In this scenario, MnRTAP will expedite the review.
Post-Event Responsibilities of the Scholarship Recipient
Scholarships are awarded with the intention that the recipient share what they learn with their agency and other agencies in the state. For out-of-state events, scholarship recipients may be asked to attend an RTAP curriculum subcommittee or advisory committee meeting following the workshop/training to share what they learned at the workshop/training. If further sharing of what they learned at the training is determined to be helpful to other agencies, there may be additional requests, such as a webinar, roundtable, or feature in the newsletter.
Reimbursements are made to the transit agency, not to individuals.
Itemized receipts showing proof of payment must be retained and provided to RTAP for reimbursement to occur.
The expense reimbursement request form must be submitted within 30 days of the event.
Reimbursements are processed and paid within 45 days of the scholarship recipient submitting the reimbursement form.
Please contact firstname.lastname@example.org with any questions regarding your scholarship application or reimbursement.
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)
Breakfast reimbursements may be claimed only if the employee is on assignment away from their temporary or permanent work station in a travel status overnight or departs from home in an assigned travel status before 6:00 A.M.
Eligibility for noon meal reimbursement shall be based upon the employee being on assignment, over thirty-five (35) miles from his/her temporary or permanent work station, with the work assignment extending over the normal noon meal period.
Dinner reimbursement may be claimed only if the employee is away from his/her temporary or permanent work station in a travel status overnight or is required to remain in a travel status until after 7:00 P.M.
- Alcoholic beverages are not reimbursable. If you purchase alcoholic beverages with your meal, ask for separate receipts. A receipt with alcohol on the receipt will not be accepted.
- All meal receipts must be itemized and include proof of payment.
- If meals are provided by the conference, you can’t be reimbursed for a meal at the same time as the provided meal without an exception from RTAP. Please consult the conference agenda before applying for your scholarship so you know which meals you are requesting. If you have an allergy or dietary restriction not covered by the conference or need an exemption, please let us know and we can make an exception. Receipts are not required for meals that are provided by the conference/event.
- Except for the metropolitan areas listed below, the maximum reimbursement for meals including tax and gratuity, shall be:
Breakfast — $9.00
Lunch — $11.00
Dinner — $16.00
For the following metropolitan areas the maximum reimbursement shall be:
Breakfast — $11.00
Lunch — $13.00
Dinner — $20.00
The metropolitan areas are:
New York City
- Hotel costs cannot exceed $150 per night.
- Lodging is reimbursable if the transit system is greater than 35 miles from the location of the event.
- Every effort must be made to stay in the conference hotel, if one is provided and it is under $150 per night.
- Use of public transportation and/or bike share is strongly encouraged.
- Use of a rental car instead of a flight is permitted, but you must provide a cost comparison and justify the reason in your application.
- One checked bag per person is allowed.
- Flights and rental cars must be economy class (at a maximum); upgrades are allowed but the difference must be paid by the applicant.
- Mileage is reimbursed at the current federal reimbursement rate. This rate is subject to change. A screenshot of a map showing your starting and ending destination and total mileage is required for reimbursement (for example, Google Maps).